As a northern-based coach and athlete, managing the winter for both my athletes and myself is a tricky equation. A balance of enough training to prepare for the next race season and not too much indoor, nose to the grind stone training to be burnt out by May. From a physical standpoint it’s tough…psychologically it is REALLY tough.
In this article I will outline 3 simple and fun way to manage some winter training while still having fun and preparing for a breakthrough race season next year.
B is for the BIKE. My one pointer I offer to my northern/snowbound athletes is to ride your bike OUTSIDE as long as you can. Every weekend until the weather turns and the roads become unsafe, bundle up and go ride. With some good clothes riding well into the 40’s (and maybe lower) is really not a problem. If you have the option of a cross or mountain bike with fatter tires and the accompanying slower speeds, even better.
I is for INVEST. Athletes love gear and you need lots to tackle a full winter. At the top of my list is CLOTHING. Starting with a good base layer or 2. Craft tops my list from a brand standpoint. Then you need a thermal layer for the top and bottom. All the big brands make great thermal tights and long sleeve jerseys. Next up is some wind resistant outer gear. I like to keep a LS windproof jacket and vest in my gear back along with some windproof front pants. Look for some of the XC ski brands for the best selection. Gloves you need 2-3 pairs of varying weight and warmth. Add a hat and some shoe covers and you are set for all but the worst that mother nature can throw at you. Sporting gear; the fun stuff. Ill keep it short but some good XC skis, snowshoes, ice skates and a snow-bike are some of the “extras” that can be added to the gear room and will help you get to “G”.
G is for GET OUTSIDE. If you have planned your race season correctly, your first “A” races are far enough out that you don’t need to worry too much about “specificity” so on a clear cold day getting outside on some of that new gear (xc ski, snowshoe, pond hockey) will trump grinding out intervals on the “dreadmill” or trainer and will leave mentally more fresh to do hard work when the weather breaks a bit and you are well into your specific prep phase.
So gather your gear catalogs, get a warm beverage and plan out a BIG winter of improved fitness and lots of fun!